Message from our
President & Chief Executive Officer
These are among the most challenging times the oil and gas industry has ever faced. The low price of our products, created by an abundance of supply, is pushing companies to cut costs and identify new ways of doing business in order to remain competitive. Of equal importance is the need to address the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and use of our product and people’s uncertainty about whether oil and gas can be part of the clean energy future they desire. At Cenovus, we’re not ignoring these issues. We’re proactively looking for answers. We have worked hard to earn a reputation for being a company that thinks differently and collaborates with others to find innovative solutions. It’s those traits that will help us overcome the current financial and environmental challenges we face.
Despite 2015 being a difficult year for our industry, Cenovus had a lot of successes to celebrate. I’m proud of the way we continued to deliver on what was within our control and live up to our trusted reputation. We focused on developing operating techniques aimed at not only reducing our costs but also decreasing our impact on the environment. In addition, we have a continued focus on developing new technologies and pushing the boundaries of the status quo. We had our strongest year ever for safety performance. And we continued to honour our investment commitments to the communities near our operations, at a time when many of them needed our help more than ever. We donated more than $8.4 million to 1,133 different local organizations in 2015 and, although our budget was significantly reduced, the percentage of our capital investment that went to Aboriginal businesses in our communities was the highest since we became a company.
This spring, some of our northern communities needed our help urgently as an enormous wildfire forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray and surrounding communities and destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure. Cenovus and our industry peers acted fast to provide financial and in-kind support to the fire relief efforts and we will continue to be there for our neighbours as they start the long process of rebuilding.
As the urgency to find climate change solutions gains momentum around the world, we have expanded our focus from reducing emissions at our operations to also include an assessment of what role we can play in addressing emissions from oil along the entire value chain – from how we get it out of the ground to its end use. Our ultimate goal is to achieve zero-emissions oil. That’s ambitious, but it’s worth striving for because the global demand for energy continues to grow and oil can play a continued role in meeting that demand if the emissions challenge is addressed and oil is able to be a carbon competitive source of energy.
No single company, industry or even country can solve the related challenges of growing energy demand and climate change on its own. It has to be a collaborative effort across society – and we’re doing our part. In 2015, we worked closely with some of our peer companies and several environmental organizations. Despite our differences, years of acrimony and intense polarization, we were able to find not only a way to work together, but actual common ground and a set of shared values that allowed us to bridge barriers and come together to work on climate policy for Alberta’s oil sands industry. The result is a leading climate framework – arguably the most ambitious in North America and unprecedented around the world. This collaboration made for some difficult conversations, compromises and joint problem solving, but we knew it was an important step towards breaking through the divisive debate over climate change in this country.
In 2015, we also became one of eight participating member companies from Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) involved in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. This multi-year competition challenges teams from around the world to develop innovative approaches to convert carbon emissions from fossil fuels into valuable products like building materials, low emissions fuels and everyday consumer goods. It’s one example of how we’re collaborating on a global scale within and outside our industry to seek solutions to the challenge of eliminating carbon emissions from our product.
Our promise as a company is to create value by responsibly providing energy the world wants. That promise is just as important to us when oil is at $30 per barrel as it is when the price is $100 per barrel. Operating in a manner that maintains our commitments to safety, the environment and our communities is fundamental for us. As is our commitment to work with others in pursuit of technology and policy solutions that will make oil part of the clean energy future we all want.
President & Chief Executive Officer